First impression of Finland

Tian Zhang was born in China. Later he moved to Japan and after that to the USA. How did Tian end up moving to Pori? Let’s hear his story and thoughts about Pori and Finland in general.  

– I travelled to Finland for the very first time in 2015. It was totally dark because it was wintertime in Finland. There was lots of snow and it looked so beautiful, Tian starts.  

Coming from Japan, Finland was like a dream, utopia.  

–  I had seen pictures of wintertime with the nature filled with white snow, and from summer, where every place is covered with green – it felt like a dream. But here, it’s real! And the blue waters are so beautiful, continues Tian.  

Impressive working culture  

Tian has also reflected on the differences between working cultures of different countries, while he has worked as a researcher in Finnish mining technology company.  

– Compared to Asia, working culture here is impressive. In Asia, it is totally normal to work 12 to 13 hours per day. It is seen as normal there. In Finland, you ”only” work from 8 to 16. Or you can even work from home! You have a paid sick leave and a long, paid holiday in the summer. Those things are just impossible in Asian working culture, Tian explains.  
– I feel like Finland has a great support system for everyone. Here we have free healthcare, free education and all of these different benefits for different people, like students or families. This city also feels safe for kids, Tian continues.  

Living in Pori has been quite different from living in all the big cities Tian has lived in. 

– Coming from Asia and from a big city, I found myself thinking ”Is this really the centre? Am I really living in the city centre?” Because it’s so calm here. No traffic and no rush. But I´ve had a good impression of the city, amused Tian says.  

A good place to live in with children 

Tian’s wife has taught Japanese in Civic Education Centre (kansalaisopisto), and worked with schools to teach about Asian culture and connect schools between Japan and Finland. A couple of years ago Tian and his wife had their first child. They now have a happy family with two small children.  

– Before I had my kids, everyday life sometimes felt quite boring. In Pori, there is lots to do with children! For example, Kirjurinluoto park is very nice. Yyteri is also very beautiful. It is a big advantage to have a beach that nice and big here in Pori. And we like to go to Yyteri not just in the summertime – but also in the winter. It´s such a relaxing place, Tian muses.  

Tian adds that Pori is a very nice city, where services are also available in English.  

– It is easy to communicate with health and social services, for example. Our kids go to an English playschool, where they speak English, but naturally the kids hear Finnish everywhere.  

Tian’s children are still small, so they do a lot of things together as a family. When asked if Tian and his family have thought about their future plans in Pori, Tian smiles, saying he doesn’t think he will die in Pori.  

– But I have been here for six years. If I didn’t like it here, I wouldn’t have stayed here for so long. I think this is a nice, calm city with lots of opportunities, Tian laughs. 

Tian’s top 3 things in Pori:  

  • Swimming hall – It’s very nice to go with or without kids.   
  • Kirjurinluoto park – Great with kids, lots of greenery and the kids like it.   
  • Pori Jazz and Suomi Areena events – Nice to have people in the city during these big summer events. The international atmosphere is great!